Pomona College Magazine
Volume 41. No. 2.
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Campus art/ A mural for Frank
Leaving Their Mark

While many students hope to make their mark on the College, studio art majors Sam Starr '09 and Marco Moreno '07 are literally leaving a lasting impression-they're creating a mural that will become a permanent fixture in Frank Dining Hall.

Seeking to liven up the barren walls behind the dining hall's exhibition counter, Director of Campus Dining Diane Keate and Frank Dining Hall Manager Cory Cosio decided that this could be an opportunity for student artists to take on a large-scale project. They pitched the idea to members of the Art and Art History Department, who suggested sponsoring a mural contest. In spring of 2006, student artists were encouraged to submit designs that reflected the region's unique past.

Moreno, who loves to draw, and Starr, whose favorite medium is paint, teamed up to create the winning proposal. Their partnership stemmed from a mutual admiration of each other's work. "I saw a couple pieces I really liked, asked around, and found out that they were all his," Starr says. Moreno saw Starr's work and was equally impressed. When he found out about the mural contest, Moreno e-mailed Starr, asking if he wanted to submit a design together.

To learn more about the area's past, Moreno surfed the Internet, checked out library books and talked to professors. "I honestly didn't know much of anything about the history here," Moreno says. He was most surprised to learn about the College's large role in stimulating the growth of Claremont. "I thought that was really special," he says. Eventually, the duo devised a three-panel design that represented both the area's Native American and European American populations. The left panel depicts the Serrano Indians' interactions with the first white missionaries, while the right panel contains images of Chicano workers picking citrus fruit, the Santa Fe railroad and Pomona College's first president Cyrus G. Baldwin. The middle panel shows a contemporary grounds worker in the foreground with a large crowd of students and Bridges Auditorium behind him.

Four groups of students submitted entries. "As is often the case, it was difficult for us to choose only one of them," says Art History Professor Frances Pohl, who served on the judging panel. She offered several reasons for their selection: "There were certain landscape elements that maintained continuity between the three panels, as well as a composition that created an illusion of depth, which will help open up a relatively limited space."

Both Moreno and Starr were anxious to start on the project. After suffering several injuries to his shoulders, lower back and knee, Moreno considered taking a semester off. "The mural is a large part of the reason that I decided to come back," he says. "I really love the idea of working on a project that will become a part of the College." So far, the pair has been working on the mural in the art studio. They have stretched the canvases, affixed them to the wall, photographed student models, drawn sketches and finished most of the painting. Moreno and Starr hope the mural will be installed in the dining hall by fall.

"If it's successfully carried out, it will inspire some sort of historical perspective for those of us in fields of study that don't involve looking into the past," Starr says. "It's important to have some retrospective look into the past-why things are the way they are now."
-Julie Trescott '08
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